The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) has launched an initiative to reduce HIV prevalence in 4 African Countries.
The program will see young people in higher and tertiary education institutions in Kenya, Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe realize positive health, education and gender equality outcomes through sustained reductions in new HIV infections, unintended pregnancy and gender based violence.
Dubbed O3 Plus (Our Rights, Our Lives, Our Future), the project will be piloted by the University of Nairobi (UoN) and Mount Kenya University (MKU) working closely with relevant regional structures, national ministries, higher and tertiary education institutions and key partners,
UNESCO will support innovation to promote health and well being, as well as sexual and reproductive health services for college students while advocating for policy and practice changes to make campuses safe and inclusive learning environments for students and staff.
Lauding the project, MKU VC Prof Deogratius Jaganyi thanked UNESCO Regional Office for East Africa for sponsoring the initiative, which is bound to make a major contribution to the well being of our students in general and for the benefit of their education in colleges.
“This is indeed a very well thought-out project, which with time, ought to be escalated to become a co-curriculum programme for all universities in Africa and beyond,” he said.
The impact envisaged by the 03 plus project is that higher and tertiary education students in the participating institutions will enjoy improved sexual and reproductive health, enabling them to reach their full educational potential and contribute more effectively to the development of their countries and region as graduates, professionals and young leaders.
Jaganyi said the MKU Thika campus, where the O3 Project is to be implemented, is home to over 15,000 students who reside both in and out of the campus. “We are likely to have a positive multiplier effect with time and especially given the digital connectivity on which the implementation will be carried out. This means that, the aspired gains from the project, as time goes, may be reaped beyond the campus,” he added.
Jaganyi decried the many distractions facing today’s students both at the campuses as well as youth in all realms of their lives.
“It is unfortunate that there are challenges which have been pulling our students out of education thus denying them the possible empowerment and personal edification.” He said.
Jaganyi challenged the Linkages and Partnership teams at the two participating universities, to identify other areas that the two institutions can jointly participate with a view to widening the relationship.